Tuesday, June 16, 2015

At Boarding School with the Tucker Twins

I just recently finished rereading this book and thought it deserved a feature here.

' "These are the Tucker twins, called Tweedles when you want both of them or aren't particular which one answers. This red-headed one is Dum; this blue-headed one, Dee. They have other official names, but somehow I can't remember them to-day. I am Jeffry Tucker, at your service, the father of the Heavenly Twins." '

I have loved this book ever since I first picked it up from my grandparents collection of antique books. I am not overly fond on antique books (or items really); decrepitude is not a favorite quality of mine, but I am glad I did peruse their shelves before my repugnance heightened; this was not my only find. I believe I have now read it three times since my first (skimming) perusal. It is just jolly. I love sweet, cheery, honest-to-goodness homey books that have just enough reality to be charming rather than petty or depressing or sordid. Like the Gene Stratton-Porter books, although do not expect that kind of brilliance in this book.

The novel is written and set in the Romantic/Titanic/Gibson/Edwardian era (as you can see from the cover). The main character narrator, Page, is sent to boarding school for socialization and at the train station meets a jolly family with a young, handsome father Jeffry Tucker (whom everyone at first sight thinks is the brother) and twins her age whom he introduces to her as the Tweedles, Dum and Dee, saying he cannot remember their real names; they in turn call him Zebedee. If that whimsical jolliness does not endear you to the book I do not know what will (one of the reasons I first like Little Women was the fact that girls calledtheir mother "Marmee" and Jo called Laurie "Teddy"; I also love that she calls him Mr. Toodles later too, and he in turn comes up with Daisy and Demi). Page only finds out their real names later. The girls meet more friends, befriend boys from the boys' school nearby, make an enemy, get into and out of scrapes (of the twins causing), and generally bounce their way through their first year at boarding school.

"Mr. Tucker called it tweedling when the girls spoke in chorus as was their habit."

Despite my initial/overall dislike of antique books, I now wish to have the old copies of the rest of the set. I looked and looked online for modern copies and when I bought the next in line and looked through it, I was not happy with it, and now I think I want to wait to read it until I can get my hands on an older copy. I feel like part of the charm is in the old book, plus the typing, editing, and layout of the new copy is at best, utterly pathetic and it disrupts the flow of the story.

' "An' is this your pa? Well, save us, ef you don't look more like somebody's great-grandson than anybody's pa."
"Well, they do treat me like a stepson, sometimes, Mammy, laughed Mr. Tucker." '

Oh, and did I mention that the book is hilarious?

' "Yes, he did hook them from you," said Dum, making her appearance like a whirlwind. "Zebedee is great on that. He steals girls gloves and gives them to Dee and me. We never have to buy any. All the girls get him to hold their gloves for them and then he brings them home to us and we divide them up. Here yours are. Zebedee did not know whose they were, but we recognized the perfume you are so fond of. They are too big for us, so we were not going to row over them." '

Read it.

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